Days After PETA Exposé Reveals Behind-the-Scenes Cruelty for King’s Cup Tournament, Companies Withdraw Support

For Immediate Release:
21 March 2018

Bangkok – In response to a shocking series of videos released last week by PETA showing handlers repeatedly beating elephants for Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort’s 2018 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Thailand, event sponsors Sunraysia, the Campari Group, GROHE, Ecolab, JDE, Angus Energy, Häfele, and Vespa have informed PETA and its affiliates that they’ll no longer support the cruel competition, which touts itself as a charity event for elephants.

In a letter to PETA Australia, Sunraysia CEO Anthony Davie stated, “We are distressed by the footage and strongly condemn the mistreatment of elephants that it shows. … Now that you have brought this matter to our attention, we will be discontinuing our sponsorship of the King’s Cup Elephant Polo event.”

“By withdrawing their sponsorship, these companies have set a positive example for other companies that still support such abusive spectacles to follow,” says PETA Vice President of International Operations Jason Baker. “Elephants don’t belong on polo fields, where they’re forced to obey confusing commands under the constant threat of punishment.”

The videos show handlers in a holding area next to the polo grounds repeatedly beating and jabbing the captive elephants’ heads with bullhooks – weapons resembling fireplace pokers with a sharp metal hook on one end – which they also used to yank the animals by their extremely sensitive ears.

Even after PETA’s exposé was released, the organisation continued to document that cruelty to elephants was occurring, which the Minor Hotel Group – the owner of the Anantara brand – is either unable or unwilling to stop. This included more beatings and an elephant who was left chained in floodwater all day.

Elephants used for polo tournaments, rides, or any other type of entertainment endure violent training, during which they’re regularly beaten, in order to force them into submission. Between matches, they’re often shackled so tightly that they can barely take a single step in any direction.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” In a letter sent today, the group is calling on Minor Hotel Group to make this the last elephant polo tournament and for sponsors to withdraw their support.

For more information, please visit PETAAsia.com.